Essays Written for The Plantation News

I wrote essays for The Plantation News, our family newspaper, between 1983 and 2003. Some essays recorded actual events, while others were humor, satire or fiction. The Plantation News transitioned from paper to blog and continues online here.

Why I Cut My Sandwiches into Quarters

Everyone living at the Plantation knows that I make and eat sandwiches a lot. Usually it’s thin-sliced roast beef on rye, always with Duke’s mayonnaise, sometimes with melted Swiss cheese and toasted bread. And everyone who’s seen my sandwich mania has noticed that I cut the sandwiches twice, in a plus sign. Some of you have even asked me, “Why do you always cut your sandwiches into four little pieces?”

Well, the answer is that, for very little effort, everything about eating the sandwich is made easier, and the sandwich even tastes better this way! Let me explain.

First, the crust doesn’t get in your way as you eat the sandwich. You pick up the sandwich quarter, turn the crust away from you, and bite in. You get a whole series of bites in a row, holding onto the crust. Compare this to the usual sandwich cut only in half, where after just two or three bites, you’re burying you face in bread, and the crust is poking you in the cheek. You’re forced to bite away some unwanted crust before returning to the sandwich proper.

Second, as everyone knows, the crust is the worst part of any sandwich. When we were young, Mom tricked us by saying, “When you’re five years old, you get to eat your crust,” (like it was some kind of treat!) When toasted, the crust is always the most burnt part of the sandwich. Even untoasted, crust is denser and chewier; especially rye bread crust, which can be like chewing up an old wet piece of rope. When a sandwich is sliced only in half, you have to endure a six-inch piece of old wet rope at the middle and end of your feast. With quarters, the crustal interludes are shorter, and you never end up with a complete mouthful of just crust. Pop it in, and it’s gone.

Finally, the bite-sized pieces are easier to handle. The delightful little finger sandwiches fit in a single hand, the crust acting as a handgrip. (You know that bread is simply an edible utensil for holding meat and cheese.) And, since you have four pieces, you get three pauses during your sandwich consumption period instead of just one, so the sandwich lasts longer.

All of this leads to the sandwich actually tasting better. Four times you get the best bite of the sandwich, right into the fattest middle part. You don’t have to endure so much yucky crust all at once, and you can throw away that last quarter crust with less guilt than a whole crusty semicircle. With the pauses, the sandwich lasts longer, so the taste experience is more extended in time. Finally, it’s simply more fun to have these little hors d’oeuvres whenever you want, like having your own party eight or ten times a week.

…I suspect I’ll catch more of you slicing your sandwiches into four little quarters from now on!

|| Index of The Plantation News Essays ||
April 24, 2019
09:48:26 AM